Laws about hiring felons vary from state to state. Many states, recognizing that an ever increasing number of Americans have some type of criminal record, discourage discrimination in hiring solely on that basis. The specific laws of each state are within their civil codes.
Many states ban convicted felons from holding certain types of professional licenses. In Connecticut, for example, agencies may suspend, revoke or deny professional licenses for a wide variety of occupations regulated by the Department of Public Health, many segments of building construction and professions such as accounting and insurance sales solely on the basis of a past conviction. Positions relating to law enforcement and the legal system are usually closed to felons.
Other laws require an employer to demonstrate that the nature of an individual's conviction would directly affect her fitness for the job. A conviction for embezzlement or theft could disqualify a person from jobs that involve record keeping or handling money, for example; a DWI might disqualify someone from driving professionally.
Certificates of Relief
Another area where laws vary widely from state to state is that of certificates of relief from disabilities, also known as expungement, sealing of records or certificates of good conduct. Though difficult in most places for felons to obtain, such certificates can significantly widen opportunities available to convicted individuals.